SPF BOE Hears Aftercare Concerns, Recognizes Educators

 

By KIMBERLY A. EVANS
For Union County HAWK

SCOTCH PLAINS — Last week, during a regular meeting of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education, parents and community members took to the podium en masse to share their concerns surrounding the board’s decision to change aftercare providers.

Right At School, a for-profit venture based in Illinois, was awarded the contract during a public bidding process over the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA, who has been providing the district with before and after care services for many years.

District officials said during the meeting, held Thursday, that there had been some complaints regarding the YMCA programs.

In response, a team of professionals from the district was formed and they went out for bids for both Before and After School programs. Among the team were Candice Testa First Grade Teacher at McGinn and Dr. Scott Bortnick, Principal of Brunner Elementary School along with other professionals and administrators from the district.

The YMCA and Right At School were reportedly the two bidders. The bids varied in offerings, pricing based on days of the week, drop-in rates and hours of operation. The contract was awarded to Right At School by unanimous decision of the board.

Many speakers were parents who were not happy with switching from the YMCA to the Right At School program. Most expressed that they felt the staff at the YMCA were doing a great job interacting with the children that attended the programs and did not have the same confidence in an outside provider.

Kim Decker, CEO of the YMCA, expressed disappointment at the decision and said that she had met with the Superintendent on many occasions and had discussed the possibility of revenue sharing.

YMCA Board member Pam O’Neil spoke and stated that she was very disappointed in the decision, noting that the Right at School Program was based out of a company in Chicago. She said, “I am so disappointed that we are taking money out of Scotch Plains and giving it to Chicago.”

In other district news, the BOE recognized numerous educators at the beginning of the January 19 meeting.

From the Brunner School, the Governor’s Educator of the Year recipients were Samantha Strulowitz and Tara Tencza. From Coles Elementary Jennifer Liang and Javier Rodriguez were honored. At the Evergreen School Jamie Socha and Kerry Mullany were honored. From the McGinn Elementary School, Amanda Marchica and Sandra Reo were awarded. Lastly from School One, Ellen Young and Stacy Rayner were award recipients.

At the Middle Schools, Susan Zazzara and Nancy Vicari were award while winners from the Nettingham Middle School while Trey Shore and Amanda Wolf were honored from the Terrill Middle School.

From the Scotch Plains Fanwood High School, Randy Koetzner was recognized.

New Jersey Exemplary Educator of the Year Award Recipients, were Samantha Melworm from the Brunner Elementary School, Jordan Gribbin from the District and Kristen Cecchini from McGinn.

The next Scotch Plains Fanwood Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Thursday February 16 at 7:30 p.m. It will be held in the Administration Building behind the Evergreen School.

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